We have heard it all before, “Life is what you make it,” or “You get out of life what you put into it.” And one of my personal favorites, from Joe Dirt, “Life’s a garden. Dig it!” All of these are great little quotes, but when it comes to making a real life, I love this quote from Winston Churchill,
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
“We make a living by what we get…”
You may have been asked before, “What do you do for a living?” In other words, what do you do to make money? You know that old 9-5 job that keeps the lights on. It helps us to pay for our rent or mortgage, the car we drive, the food we eat, and many, many more things. It is the money that helps us make a living and provide for the things we have. When things come to us, either earned or simply given, we use them to make our living. We use them in everyday life for one reason or another. Though houses and cars are important, this is not your life, it is your life situation and you make that living with the things you get.
“We make a life by what we give.”
By giving to others, we work on our lives, our happiness, and our joy. When we give to others, whether that be of our time or our money, we add to the joy of others and to our own joy. I have read that the happiest people in life are the ones who routinely give to others. I can’t describe the feeling of joy I receive when I do something good for someone else. And if I can do it without anyone knowing, oh it is even sweeter. That’s right, we don’t need credit for what we give to people. If you are looking for credit, then you are missing the point Mr. Churchill was trying to make clear. Giving of yourself or your money, and not expecting any credit for it, is food for the soul. The type of gift you receive that is priceless. I know you can think of a time where you did something purely selfless, saw how much it was appreciated, and the joy you felt because of it. That is the joy I am talking about and that is the life Mr. Churchill is saying we can build.
It is true, “It is better to give than to receive.” If you can provide value or comfort for someone else, then why not? I am not saying you need to treat the entire restaurant to dinner, but what if you see a group of our soldiers eating lunch at a local restaurant. Take the time to thank them for their sacrifice and pick up their bill. You can thank them publicly, but pay for their bill anonymously. How about paying the bill for the person behind you in the drive through line? These little things are how you build a life. True, you can get temporary happiness from what you get, but you will get lifelong joy from what you give. So, though you have to make a living to survive, you need to make a life to enjoy it!!!